Family members can often be a cook's harshest critics, but Adriana Pacifici's offspring have formed a loyal and flattering fan club. A professional public relations executive couldn't be more convincing than son Angelo when he describes the way Pacifici makes pizza. Indeed, Angelo's description, which starts stomachs growling and mouths watering, is almost enough to make you beg Pacifici to whip one up on the spot. Light, wafer-thin crust. Fresh tomatoes. A hint of basil from the garden. Cheese sprinkled on at the very last minute.
The cuisine behind the rave reviews is Northern Italian Judaic. In addition to satisfying family cravings, Pacifici runs a thriving catering business, teaches cooking classes and has been writing a cookbook. Born and raised in Rome, she learned to cook at home, then refined her talents when she and her husband opened the Via Veneto restaurant in New York.
"It's like I'm in a trance when I'm in the kitchen," she says. "I never get tired of cooking. Northern Italian cuisine is based on a seasonal approach, using good, fresh ingredients, and it's easy to be inspired when you're working with the best that's available."
The Turkey Roll shown here originated with a recipe obtained from Pacifici's sister during a visit to Italy and then refined back home.
"In Italy, that's all they talk about--food and eating," she says with a smile, and you know that with her knowledge and talent she has no trouble keeping up her share of that conversation. Accompaniments Pacifici-style would be asparagus lasagna, string-bean souffle and a Mont Blanc with chestnuts and whipped cream. With a menu like that, the only possible question to ask is: "What time is dinner?"
ADRIANA PACIFICI'S TURKEY ROLL
1 whole breast turkey, boned3 cloves garlic, cut in halfSalt, pepper6 slices prosciutto or cooked ham4 eggs2 tablespoons chopped parsleyButter or margarine6 slices mortadellaFresh rosemary sprigs or dried rosemary leaves 1/2 cup olive oil1 onion, sliced1 shallot, sliced 1/2 cup wine Have butcher remove all turkey bones. Butterfly meat to spread out into a flat sheet. With sharp knife make 6 random incisions in breast and place garlic half in each. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Rub in garlic. Cover with layer of prosciutto slices.
Beat eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in large non-stick skillet placed over medium heat. Pour in eggs and cook to a soft, whole, round omelet or frittata (do not overcook). Cool slightly. Place omelet over prosciutto .
Top with mortadella slices. Roll breast as tightly as possible, jellyroll fashion, and tie with string all around. If using fresh rosemary, insert sprigs under strings; if using dried, rub turkey roll with dried herb. Season to taste with salt, pepper.
Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven or roasting skillet placed over low heat. Add turkey roll, and cook to brown evenly, turning occasionally. Raise heat and sprinkle with wine. After about 5 minutes or after wine has evaporated, add cup butter, onion and shallot. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting top occasionally. Let stand about 15 minutes before carving. Cut into thin slices, and arrange on serving platter. At time of serving, heat sauce and pour some over slices and serve remainder on the side. Makes 20 to 24 servings.